His peace conquers fear

We live in a world that is full of fear. Fear is something every single one of us has felt at some point in our lives. While some people may be afraid of one thing or another, others struggle every day with living in constant fear.  It can be a fear of snakes, fear of water, fear of an upcoming test, fear of the future, fear of losing someone you love and so on.
How do we respond when we fear? How do we overcome it?

Fear stops us from doing many great things that life has to offer. Fear has impacted my life in so many negative ways. When I was younger, I was always scared to leave my parents because I thought they would die. I used to be petrified of thunderstorms and I’m terrified of heights. I grew up watching one of my sisters get abused by her husband, the man that was supposed to love her and take care of her.  Because of that, I find myself fearful around men. These fears caused me to run and hide. They kept me from doing things that life offered me.

While those fears still impact me, the more I rely and trust in God, the more my fears diminish. One of my biggest fears is flying. Flying is something I did not want to do, ever. Just the thought of it fills me with anxiety. I have flown before, but I also claimed I would never fly again. One of my dreams was to see the Eiffel Tower and because of my fear of flying I told myself it would never happen. I was letting fear control me instead of letting God calm me. Today, I not only made my dream come true but I have conquered my fear of flying six other times. God made that possible.

As I am writing this blog I am filled with fear.  I am afraid that it wont be good enough or that it won’t help anyone. I am also filled with fear that I won’t truly open up to people or share deep thoughts that go through my head.  This is something I struggle with, but I know is something I know I need to do. These fears make me want to quit and say, “Sorry guys but I can’t do it. Find someone else to take my place”.

Quitting would be the easy thing to do, but that would let fear win. It would let Satan win. Satan doesn’t want me to help anyone.  He doesn’t want this blog to help anyone or bring them closer to God so he attacks our weaknesses.  We serve such an amazing and powerful God who is with us always. He has His hands on us. He wants us to trust in His protection and rely on His peace. Peace will replace fear if we trust in God. He wants us to know He’s there and that we can live a life free of fear.

In the Bible, He reminds us 365 times not to be afraid. That is one reminder for each day of the year. God knew we would struggle with fear in our lives and He has given us the encouragement we need for every day.  He has given us everything we need to not be fearful and trust Him. I don’t know about you, but that is such an encouragement to me. God’s got our backs. He has a plan for all of us.  One of my favorite songs is one from Twenty One Pilots.  It has some powerful lyrics in it that I keep with me all the time. The lyrics say, “Peace will win, fear will lose”. If we have God by our side and if we trust in Him through our fears then His peace will win.

If you have something that scares you or if you have a fear of something whether it be an assignment in school, grades, a loved one, or fear about your future, He’s got you.  Whatever fear you have, whatever fear you are facing, God can wipe it away.

Choose to release the fear. Claim God’s peace. Do not let fear take over your life. You have the strength, with God, to overcome anything regardless of how scary it is. God is with you and God is for you. Trust in Him. Remember, God never leaves you no matter where you are at, even on an airplane.  Don’t let your fear keep you from God and His word.
Let His peace win!

Here are some verses that have helped me whenever I am facing something that is fearful. I hope they will be an encouragement to you also.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” –Psalms 56:3
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” –Joshua 1:9
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” – Jeremiah 29:11
“I will never leave you or forsake you” – Hebrews 13:5
“Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories” – Isaiah 41:10

If you have found the peace that I have, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below or in a message.  You never know who may read your testimony and be encouraged through it.  If you are still living in a crippling fear, however, and have not yet found this peace that comes only from Jesus, please message us and we would love to pray for you and walk alongside you.  His peace will always conquer fear.

(written by Hope Trossen)

Casting my Anxiety on Him

About 3.1% of the U.S population live with generalized anxiety. I am part of that 3.1%. I am going to be honest and vulnerable with you.  I have dealt with this for as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school, we took these big tests each spring to see how we were developing. I would get so anxious that I’d constantly be licking my lips, and then they would get chapped. I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before.  My anxiety had always held me back, whether it was going to hang out with friends or taking a test.

I ask myself a million questions. Was I too awkward during the conversation yesterday? Does my makeup look okay? Why are those people looking at me?  Was I nice enough to that customer? Did someone take offense to my sass?  I would make up excuses not to hang out with my friends or go out because of my anxiety. I’d stay up late at night, worrying about every word I said and every move I made.

I moved away to college and during my first semester, my anxiety escalated. I was afraid to leave my dorm or sit next to new people in class. In fact, most of the friends I did make were from my hall or were because of assigned seating, which was a major BLESSING to me (and I appreciate all of those friends SO much). I questioned what I was doing in college. Am I good enough? Am I doing this right? I remember thinking this ALL the time.

My anxiety is a constant everyday struggle, but I don’t let it define me. In fact, most people don’t know I struggle with this expect for a handful of my family and friends. I am not afraid to admit it now because I know that my Lord and Savior is in control.

I could not tell you why I always felt anxious. On the outside I tend to be a very outspoken, carefree, and confident. What many people don’t see is my heart beating rapidly during a conversation, my hand getting clammy, or butterflies in my stomach during a normal conversation (not even a “cute boy talking to me” conversation). What many people don’t know and I tend not to share is the trembling, uncontrolled crying, shortness of breath and anxiety attacks I get every so often over major things, which can be horrific sometimes.

What helps me in my everyday life is knowing I’m not alone.  Yes, I have my mom and closest friends to talk to and my Father in heaven is the who knows what goes on in my head and places His hand on my shoulder and leads the way. I am reminded of grandmother’s favorite hymn “In the Garden”.

“And He walks with me, and He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own,

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

None other has ever known.”

I find myself singing this constantly; it’s a great reminder that He is always with me. There is no other relationship that I have that is like ours.  There are also plenty of other verses in the Bible that come to mind when dealing with anxiety.

“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”     1 Peter 5:7

Isn’t that AMAZING? When I think of this, I think of fishing at the lake. When you physically cast out your rod and (fingers crossed) catch a fish. When we cast our anxieties to God, He will send back peace within us. We can seriously put all our doubts and worries on Him because He loves us so much. He will listen to us all day every day if we allow Him to and pray that He will guide us.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

This is a perfect verse for those late night thoughts running through your head. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7  

God will listen to you and help you through it all. He will put his hands over you and guide to the right place.  These are 3 major verses that help me get through the day living with anxiety. There are probably a lot more, but these are the ones that have been helpful to me.

Turning to God and praying should always be our first choice, but there are more that can help. Find a happy place, whether it’s in your bed curled up or out with friends at a concert. My happy place is on my beach house’s back dock after a day at the beach getting some sun, wearing a sweatshirt and shorts. It seriously gives me so much relief just to THINK about it.  Talking is a major key to getting through anxiety. Whether it is with Jesus, friends, a therapist, or your dog, talking helps. If you have any other ways to encourage others dealing with anxiety, please share!

My prayer for you, the reader, is that if you also deal with anxiety that you find hope, wisdom and peace in God. That you will turn to Him in your trials and worries, I pray that you find comfort in your heart knowing you are loved and you are priceless. I pray for this post that it reaches many women, letting them know that they are not alone in this world. I pray for the 3.1%. I pray that they all will find peace in their thoughts.

PLEASE, if you also struggle with anxiety, we would love to pray for you and walk with you in any way we can! Please contact us through facebook, so we can know how best to be there for you.   

Love,

Jodie Lynn

 

Broken Blessings

Life has its way of dragging us through highs and lows. Some days are so wonderful that we take snapshots in our minds or pictures on our phones to remember them as vividly as possible. It may be a day that a prayer was answered or someone special finally came home. Maybe it was a wedding day or just precious time spent with loved ones. It is easy in those times to smile and say, “Thank you God, You are so good.” If only all days were so lovely.

We have all been there. A loved one passes away. Someone once thought to be “the one” breaks our heart. Everything that could possibly go wrong does and we are left feeling frustrated and worthless. Days like these are the ones we desperately wish we could just fast forward through and forget forever. Is God still good then?

In the past couple weeks, something began to weigh heavy on my heart in very real way. I am not someone who necessarily “hears from God” on a daily basis, but that Sunday night I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He was asking me to do something terrifying. He was asking me to trust him and do something that not only scared me but would also hurt someone I cared about deeply. He was asking for my obedience.

“If you love me, keep my commands,” These words from John 14:15 resonated with me that night. It is easy to love God when He showers blessings or opens doors of opportunity. It is, however, much harder to take that a step farther in the face of fear and pain. I wish I could tell you that this was the first time I’ve felt this way and that I chose right away to obey with a happy heart. I wish I could tell you the easier story. Alas, that is not the story I have come to tell.

So often, especially in our culture in today, we somehow think that showing our pain or struggling is weakness. Strength is not a measure of how well we can “go it alone”. That, my dear, is pride. Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is to be open and share the truth of what we are living. We were made to need each other and live in dependency on the One who made us. Sometimes it’s okay to not be okay.

The week that followed for me was difficult to say the least. I felt like I was self-destructing, falling apart at the seams. I got to the point that my prayers in the morning consisted of one simple phrase, “God I need you today.” I knew I had to obey, but it seemed like an impossible request.

I learned something beautiful in that week of being so vulnerable and fragile. I needed God. Being in that place every morning of realizing that I knew I wouldn’t make it through the day unless I had His strength, brought me to a new place of dependency on Him. I knew I couldn’t make it on my own. Then it struck me: isn’t this how it’s supposed to be?

Living in my pride, I had taught myself that I could make it, for the most part, on my own. Sometimes if I really needed God, I could call to Him for safe travel, lost luggage, healing… you know the drill. Never before had I been in such a raw place of knowing I could not take a single breath without His help. Personally, I never want to go back to a place of thinking I don’t need Him ever again.

There is such a beauty in being so dependent on Him. He is the only one who will always be there (Deut 31:6). He our refuge (Ps 46:1-3). He is there when our heart is breaking (Ps 34:18) and He is faithful to do as He’s promised (Ps 33:4). In Him, we will always have hope (Ps 71:14-15). Being at my lowest, I learned what it meant to be made whole in Him.

Ultimately, I did obey. I stepped out on the water, trusting that He was going to work it all out. I wish I could sit here and tell you how it wasn’t painful and all went great, but that isn’t how my story went. It was painful. It was terrifying. My heart broke. But I had peace. In the midst of one the most difficult things I have ever had to do, I had total perfect peace. I had done what I was asked to do, and I knew He was with me.

It’s okay to not be okay. Living in complete dependency on Him has been the most beautiful thing, and I would have never ended up here had He not shaken my life up a little. Sometimes the greatest blessings come out of brokenness.

“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Ps 116:7

~Gabriella

Who am I?

You make it to the end of a long, hard day. You shower. You change into comfortable clothes. You wipe off your makeup. Then, while you’re brushing your teeth, you look up into the mirror and realize you don’t recognize the person you see there. Have you ever had a that moment, when you stare into your reflection and wonder how you became the person that you are today?

Who am I?

It seems like a simple question, but sometimes, it’s tough to answer. On the first day of my Psychology of Personality class, my professor had us list ten words in answer to that question: “who are you?” As my classmates began to write, I sat in my chair at the back of the classroom, wondering how I should answer. Should I define myself by my physical qualities: a girl with long brown hair and glasses? Should I define myself by my character traits: compassionate, quiet, and sensitive? Or should I define myself by my roles in life: student, sister, daughter, and friend?

I didn’t realize it until I was sitting in that class with a blank sheet of paper on my desk, but I’ve always struggled with the answer to that question.

Who am I?

There are plenty of things that we could use to define ourselves: our grades, the way we look, our relationship status, the accomplishments on our resumes, the number of likes on our latest Instagram posts, or the amount of money sitting in our bank accounts.

But here’s the problem with defining ourselves by these worldly things: they’re temporary.  So how should we define ourselves? How do we answer the question? Who are we? Let’s turn to the Word of God that does not, and will not, change (Isaiah 40:8).

We are children of God, carefully designed and wholly loved.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139: 13-14).

God, creator of the universe and painter of the sunsets, formed every part of us. He knows our thoughts. He knows our hurts. He knows our next steps, even when we don’t know them ourselves.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

You probably memorized John 3:16 in Sunday school, but when was the last time you really thought about it? God loves us so much that he gave up his Son for us. More than that, he let Jesus die a painful death and experience separation from God, so that we could be forgiven for our sins. That’s a real sacrifice, and that’s the truest love that there has ever been.

That brings me to my next point. We may be handcrafted and loved by God, but we are sinners.

It’s a hard truth to swallow. We want to feel good about ourselves. We want people to recognize that we’re trying our hardest to be good people and to do the right things. Still, we fail.

Here’s some good news: “God shows his love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s love for us is stronger than our sin.

If we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, we are free from sin. We are forgiven.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free…” (Galatians 5:13).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Isn’t that great news? If you’ve accepted the gift that Jesus gave you, you’re not defined by your sin. If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your savior, you have the power to receive Jesus’s sacrifice as payment for your sins and to begin walking in freedom.

I’ve learned a few things since that professor asked me who I was. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember when I get distracted by this world, but I know who I am.

Who am I?

I am not defined by the number of people I sit with at lunch. I am not defined by the size of the clothes I wear. I am not defined by my family. I am not defined by my grades. I am not defined by my past. I am not defined by my occupation. I am not defined by the amount of money I make. I am not defined by things of this world.

I am a child of God. I am designed by God’s own hands. I am more deeply loved than I can fathom. I am saved by Jesus Christ. I am forgiven, and I am free.

If you have any questions about Jesus, or how to accept his gift of salvation, please feel free to reach out any of our Woven Together team members, or message us on one of our Facebook or Instagram accounts! We would love to hear from you!

With love,

Faith Brooks

 

Photography credit: Noelle Brooks